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An Examination Of Trait And Situational Leadership Approaches

1581 words - 7 pages

TRAIT AND SITUATIONAL LEADERSHIP APPROACHES 1An examination of Trait and Situational Leadership ApproachesDana L. ZandersUniversity of Maryland University CollegeTurnitin Originality Score_________ AbstractThis paper will compare and contrast trait and situational approach leadership theories, the development of the theories and how effective each are in organizations. This paper will compare each approach, some of their research history and the challenges they faced in the past and the challenges they may or may not face in the future. The trait approach is the oldest theory that have been researched by numerous researchers. The situational approach consist of two elements that focus on ...view middle of the document...

Researchers also studied how leadership would react to different situations known as the situational approach. The situational approach focused on how effective leadership was based on certain situations. This approach also matched leadership styles to the competence and commitment of employees.This paper will compare and contrast the trait and situational approach therories and the potential impact each may have on organizations.The trait approachThe trait approach is the oldest leadership theory that focuses on identifying distinctive characteristics that great political, social, and military leaders possess. During the mid 20th century, researchers argued that traits alone were not enough to identify leaders from nonleaders. In 1948, Stogdill proposed that there was no steady set of traits that identified leaders from nonleaders. He conducted a second study in 1974 because his description of the role and traits of leadership was more balanced compared to his 1948 study which stated leadership roles were more situational versus personality. As a result of the second study he identified 10 characteristics that are associated with leadership. Mann conducted a study in 1959 and concluded that personality traits could distinguish leaders from nonleader and strong leaders possessed the following traits, intelligence, masculinity, adjustment, dominance, extraversion, and conservatism (Northouse, 2013). Although different researchers identified a variety of leadership traits and characteristics, they all agreed that there are five major leadership traits: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability. Ownership of these leadership traits was believed to be the necessary element for displaying leadership behavior. Leaders were thought to be individuals to whom group members gave an increase level of status to once it was revealed that he or she could aid the group in achieving its goals.The trait approach focused entirely on the leader, however, and not on the followers or the situation, researchers failed to discover any traits that would guarantee leadership success. A link between personality traits and leadership effectiveness was discovered, cause and effect were not addressed. Early trait theorists assumed that leadership was innate. They failed to acknowledge that being in a leadership role might help the development of leadership traits.The theory also, neglected to account for why some individuals might be effective leaders in certain circumstances yet not in others.The situational ApproachSituational approach was developed by Hersey and Blanchard (Northouse, 2013) and focus on leadership in situations. This approach has two elements: the leadership style and development level of subordinates. The leadership style consists of two behavior patterns, directive and supportive. The directive behavior accomplish its goal by giving direction, establishing goals, setting time lines, defining roles and showing how the goals...

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